HIV- The dreaded disease


HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a type of virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens the ability of individual to fight everyday infections and disease. Such medical condition often deteriorate the defensive property or immune system of human body leaving one vulnerable to other common and uncommon sicknesses. The HIV virus often gets inside the white blood cells and starts replicating during the replication process and expands quickly restricting body to develop antibodies in order to fight them. Some of the basic facts related to HIV are:

  • They are communicable but can only be transmitted from human to human (via blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk) and no animals or any exception.
  • Since it is caused due to virus it is incurable
  • The HIV virus might leads to AIDS. Initially HIV is contracted and the virus progresses if find specific qualification causing AIDS.

What are the symptoms of HIV infection?

Most people experience a short, flu-like illness after 2-6 weeks of getting infected from HIV virus, and the fever lasts for a week or two. However, the symptoms of HIV may disappear for many years. Although there are no particular symptoms which could be noticed but it keep damaging the immune system of human internally.

After few years of being infected, the person might feel permanent weakness, experience rapid weight loss, blurred or double vision, chronic diarrhea, night sweats, breathing problem, enlarged glands or high fever for several weeks.

It can be diagnosed by testing blood or saliva for antibodies to virus, but this could take plenty of time. A quicker test checks for HIV antigen (a protein produced by the virus immediately after infection). It can confirm a diagnosis soon after infection and allow the person to take swifter steps to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Treatment for HIV

HIV doesn’t have cure but medical experts have developed certain combination of drugs which controls the growth of virus. Such treatment is termed as antiretroviral therapy or ART.  Each class of drug blocks the virus in different ways.  The treatment process generally combines three drugs from two classes to avoid creating drug-resistant strains of HIV.

Some of the classes of anti-HIV drugs include:

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or NNRTIs

They blocks the protein needed by HIV virus to make copy of themselves. Hence, regulating or blocking further growth. Examples of such drugs are efavirenz (Sustiva), etravirine (Intelence)

Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors or NRTIs

They are the faulty versions of the building blocks that HIV needs to make copies of itself. Examples include Abacavir (Ziagen), and the combination drugs emtricitabine/tenofovir (Truvada)

Protease inhibitors or PIs

 Inactivate HIV protease is another protein that HIV needs to make copies of itself or replicate. Examples include atazanavir (Reyataz) and darunavir (Prezista)

The treatment of HIV includes taking several pills throughout the day at specified time but each of the drugs might have their own set of side-effects. Vomiting, heart disease, weakened bones, breakdown of muscle tissues and higher blood sugar level are some of the major side-effects. Hence, taking medicines regularly and consulting physician is essential part of the HIV treatment.